Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, hosted the penultimate stop of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano 2017 on two of the most challenging tracks of the season! With only two more rounds to go, the race for the overall title and, in Nino Schurter’s case, the perfect season was truly on.
As if the tight overall standings and extremely difficult and fast track weren’t enough to guarantee an exciting race for the Downhill riders, the weather decided to play a major role once again with a downpour of biblical dimensions ravaging the track just as the top riders were about to drop in. The resulting race was one for the history books. Here are the 5 things we learned at the UCI DHI and XCO Mountain Bike World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne:
- Legendary Location in Quebec
Since 1991, the inaugural season of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, the best riders in the world have made the pilgrimage to the magnificent Eastern-Canadian mecca of mountain biking on the banks of the St. Lawrence River to battle each other and the mountain’s long, fast, hard, and tricky tracks. The 2017 edition delivered another instant classic with Saturday’s downhill held under brutal weather conditions that had fans witnessing one of the best wet race runs in the sport’s history. Conditions favorably changed for Sunday’s cross-country race and the enthusiastic cycling-savvy crowd.
- Seagrave Smashes Mont-Sainte-Anne Course
Tahnée Seagrave (GBR) absolutely smashed the course in Mont-Sainte-Anne taking her 2nd win of the 2017 season and besting current World Cup leader and French National Champion Myriam Nicole by nearly 6 seconds. Tracey Hannah (AUS) delivered a gutsy ride to finish third with a rear flat tire while World Champion Rachel Atherton had a wild ride down the mountain including the save of the season after a high-speed two-wheel drift across a rock garden to finish fifth. With Nicole now only 110 points ahead of Hannah and 146 points ahead of Seagrave in the overall standings, it all comes down to Val di Sole.
- Unbelievable Performances and an All-Time Wet Run
It had been raining throughout the duration of the day but just as the Top 30 started to drop in, the heavens really opened and drenched Mont-Sainte-Anne with biblical downpours, turning sections of the track into rivers. As the best qualifiers dropped in, it long seemed like a repeat of the first round of 2017 in Lourdes, where a storm ruined the chances for the top riders. Jack Moir (AUS) however chose to ignore the lack of vision and deep puddles and put down an incredible run that saw him only 2 seconds behind teammate Dean Lucas (AUS), who had come down before the massive downpour and occupied the hot-seat for most of the race. News of Moir’s performance quickly made its way to the top. Knowing that there was a chance, riders risked it all and fans got treated to incredible runs by Troy Brosnan (AUS), Loic Bruni (FRA) and Danny Hart (GBR), all of whom came within a few seconds of Lucas' not-so-wet time.
With only one rider left at the top, Lucas already looked like the winner. Aaron Gwin however had other ideas. The American pushed out of the gate and put on a legendary show for the ages in the brutally wet and muddy conditions. Riding on another level, taking risks and inside-lines not seen all day, he crossed the line with a thunderous roar from the fans and one second ahead of Lucas. Meanwhile the leader in the overall standings, Greg Minnaar (RSA), had a nightmare of a day that ended with disqualification after a crash. As a result, Gwin now only trails Minnaar by 31 points, while Brosnan's 6th place moved him within 77 points of the lead, setting up for an epic battle for the overall World Cup title at the season’s final stop in Val di Sole, Italy.
- Belomoina Dominates
World Cup overall leader, Yana Belomoina (UKR) used her exceptional climbing and technical skills to dominate the star-studded women’s field to take her 3rd win of the season over French Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot and the Canadian home-country duo of Catherine Pendrel and Emily Batty by 44 seconds. With today’s victory, Belomoina clinches the overall 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XCO title with one race to go, a first for herself and the Ukraine to cap her amazing season.
- Schurter Remains Unstoppable
Nino Schurter’s (SUI) quest for a perfect season stays on track with a record-setting 5th consequitive victory this season. The Swiss strongman topped the box on the challenging track in Mont-Sainte-Anne ahead of Stephane Tempier (FRA) and Gerhard Kerschbaumer (ITA) for the 25th World Cup win of his career, securing the overall 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XCO title along the way.